Thoughts On the Second ‘Un-Lecture’

In response to the second Un-Lecture of this networked media season, I thought that the concept of a symposium was a good one, however it could be used in a furthermore interactive way.

I like the idea of us being able to ask questions but perhaps being put on the spot and forced to think of one makes it difficult for the creative juices to flow! I would prefer if we started off with one question or topic and then asked our questions as they came to us.. I would also love to see some more discussion between the tutors and Adrian.

As Adrian has said, nobody can know everything, and of course everybody may have a different opinion on each topic we discuss and for that reason I would like the un-lectures to involve more input from other tutors, and perhaps more opportunity for questions amongst the masses.I think that in achieving this the course lecture attendance will have a much higher success rate than perhaps it has in previous years.


Alarm Bells Ringing

Yesterday in my cinema class, I decided to sit on the opposite side of the room to that which I usually do, just to change things up a bit this semester. Upon sitting on this side of the room and taking a look around, I noticed a few things that I had never noticed before. To be clear I have been in the same cinema class room since I started at RMIT at the beginning of last year and once a week have spent 1-2 hours in there.

I mentioned to my friend sitting next to me “I’ve never noticed that ALERT ALARM up on the wall” and she replied “oh really, I have!” I then began to wonder if they had these alarms in every room. My friend wasn’t sure of this either. After reading John Mason’s piece on ‘noticing’, I discovered that perhaps my friend’s memory of the alarm was a result of ordinary-noticing rather than of marking. It was me that reminded her that the alarm was there and plus she could see it, that is a blatant reminder.

I figured that the reason I noticed the alarm was because of my changed vantage point, but why then have I not noticed whether these alarms exist in other rooms at RMIT? Is it because I was feeling panicked that day and therefore I would be more likely to notice an alarm on the wall as it seems applicable to my emotions? Or is it just because it has never really seemed important to me to know whether there are alarms in every room?

I found reading about noticing rather trivial and confusing as it is such a banal activity that for the most part we don’t even know that we are doing it. I could attempt to notice more stimuli in a day but I can honestly say that I think I would forget to try! I will give noticing each time I walk through a doorway a go.. But can’t promise anything..



Essays V Blogs

I am going to be honest and admit that when we were first told that this course was mostly assessed through blogs I was a little surprised and confused. We are so used to being told to sit down with a pen and paper and write an essay, that the idea of sharing our thoughts and new findings in such a public sphere seems really out there.

Upon reading Adrian Miles’ article about Blogs in Media Education, I have to one hundred per cent agree with him in that a process such as this seems much more applicable to the work force that we are one day aiming to step into.

By writing an essay- using a static formula that we all now know like the back of our hands, and simply handing it in to a teacher who is, let’s be honest, probably very sick of reading them, we can learn nowhere near as much as we can by using a blog. Being able to access the work of others and soak in their ideas can be unbelievably valuable and using blogs allows us to do this.

Blogging is also likely to be a crucial skill in years to come in which we are searching for employment. Already when applying for jobs in PR and marketing I have been asked how tech-savvy I am and whether I can create Facebook pages, Instagram and Twitter accounts and blogs. Not once have I been asked how good I am at writing essays.

Unless we are looking to become academics, blogging seems a much more practical skill to have than essay writing, and I think that most of us have written enough of essays for the formula to be stuck with us for life anyway.

Why Do We Salute the Sun?

From a young age we are taught that the sun is our life source, and that it basically makes the world go around. A sun salutation, or Surya Namaskar in Sanskrit, is our opportunity to say thanks to this glowing ball of fire for all it does for our planet. It is an opportunity to show our gratitude.

In almost every yoga class I have undertaken, there have been sun salutations involved. It is probably one of the first things that comes to mind when you think of the word yoga, no matter how much you actually know about them. The idea of a ‘sun salutation’ conjures images of yogis standing in tree pose with the rising sun in the background, but why do we salute the sun?

Light has often been thought of as a representation of self-illumination and in a physical sense; the sun is the world’s number one light source. Not only does it provide life to Earth, but in a less literal sense can be thought of as a symbol of consciousness.

For thousands of years, Hindus have thought of the sun as being sacred as it is the heart of our physical and spiritual world. Each sun salutation will end with one placing their hands, palms joined, on the heart and this is no coincidence. As the practice is a humble adoration of light, it is important to practice a sun salutation with concentration facing inwards, towards the heart. Each movement should be as mindful as possible.

Sun salutations are not just about the spiritual, they also have a lot of physical benefits. As powerful yoga poses have an impact on the heart, liver, intestine, stomach, chest, throat and legs, it is pretty much a whole body workout. A sun salutation will also purify the blood by improving circulation to all the major organs throughout the body, ensure proper functioning of the stomach, bowels and nerve centre. You will also of course find that muscles are strengthened in a sun salutation, particularly in the arms and waist, as many of you will know from doing those challenging chaturangas.

Sun salutations are traditionally performed in the morning to greet the new sun, however can be performed at any time to purvey our constant gratitude. The sun won’t judge us if we can’t wake up at the crack of dawn to salute it, although showing reverence towards it in the morning is a great way to get on karma’s good side for the day. Plus it is also a great way to feel in touch with ancient yogis, our ancestors if you will, as they would have awoken to salute the holy sun rising.

Whenever, wherever it is performed, a sun salutation is a fantastic way to invigorate and connect the mind, body and spirit.




A Short Speculation

In Adrian Miles’ introduction to the Networked Media course, something that resonated with me was this idea of ‘speculation’. He asked us to speculate on the word ‘speculate’, something that at first left me dumbfounded. I am sure many can relate when I say that I understand a concept a lot better when it is put into a context with which I am familiar, and so I decided to relate this idea, somewhat abstractly, to yoga.

The word speculate to me infers delving into an artifact, wondering how it will evolve in the future, even how it has evolved thus far. It could almost relate to meditation in that it suggests deep thought and focus. In saying this I am already beginning to speculate on the word speculate!

When I look back through how far yoga has come, and how many different styles exist in the world today, I wonder if anyone would have speculated such dramatic changes. Whether it be due to technological advancements or people’s desires for things that are new and shiny, there is no denying that yoga has managed to delve into many realms that I am sure very few would have imagined. From Bikram yoga, practiced in a 40 degrees Celsius room, to Antigravity yoga which is practiced in silk hammocks suspended from the ceiling, the once mostly meditative practice has taken on a new meaning.

This then leads me to speculate on what could possibly come next, and due to wandering minds and inspiring ideas floating around our planet, I believe it could be something even more left of centre. Perhaps yoga practiced in a freezing room? Or in a room made of mattresses?

Who knows, we can only speculate.